Some argue that Governor Brownback has not cut K-12 funding. While the following are not to the penny, lets analyze the funding amounts for the Great Bend school district for the past four years while the Governor has been in office and learn the truth.
Funding amounts change each year due to your weighted district enrollment, Base State Aid and the Local Option Budget which increase or decrease by action of the Legislature and the Governor. The base state aid cuts have been as low as $595 and as high as $653 per student during the past four years. Lets average it at $625.
The weighted Full Time Equivalent number of students is 5,014.8 X $625 = $3,134,250 that your district has been shorted each year by the Governor and the Legislature in violation of State law. This number divided by your general fund of $19,246,802 is a cut of 16.28% per year. Over four years, the cut is $3,134,250 X 4 = $12,537,000.
Additionally, your district has been shorted $743,952 per year, or, $2,975,808 over the four year period by the LOB not being fully funded, again, in violation of State law.
Therefore, the annual cut has been (Base State Aid + LOB) $3,134,250 + $743,952 = $3,878,202. This amount divided by your general fund of $19,246,802 = a 20.14% annual cut that you have had to make up with staff cuts, program cuts, local property tax increases, increased fees to students and parents, drawing down reserves and deferred maintenance.
Any business or household experiencing an income cut of 20.14% would be seriously stressed to make ends meet. Governor Brownback has massively cut your K-12 education funding. The sun is not shining on the schools in Great Bend.
The idea of forced school consolidation is a topic of interest to many as the Legislature and their special committees continue to examine how to make public schools more efficient. The real plan by those who believe school funding is currently adequate or should be reduced even more is to force school consolidation through starvation. In other words, continue to under fund schools at such a level that many smaller districts cannot afford to operate the schools in their communities.
Kevin R. McWhorter is a nine year member of the Goddard Board of Education who advocates for all Kansas K-12 students by testifying before the Senate and House Education Committees regarding education issues when the Legislature is in session.